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tv   Wolf  CNN  April 4, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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hello, i'll wolf blitz ser. wherever you're watching from around the world, thafrpnks ver much for joining us. president trump says he's revving up the economy by slashing red tape in washington. the president spoke to a round table of business leaders just a little while ago. he wrapped up a speech to building trade union leaders just a few minutes ago as well. >> i don't want to be the president of the world. i'm the president of the united
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states. and from now on, it's going to be america first. i've spent my life working side by side with american builders and now you have a builder as your president. >> senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny is swro joining us from the white house. he had a very interesting talk with china's president at the end of the week. he promised a major haircut. his words once again on the dodd-frank financial regulations. is tht chanis the chance to try move his efforts back to jobs, economy, because he's been dw t diverted in all sorts of other areas. >> i think that's right and the sound you hear today at the white house is the sound of the white house trying to change the subject away from russia. away from a cloud of controversy that has hung over this administration most of them
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self-inflicted. but the white house is trying to did a specific strategy here of putting the president back before approving audiences, having that applause ring out in the room to talk about infrastructure and other things out. but we didn't hear any specifics from this president about an infrastructure bill, how they would get any of these things accomplished. basically what the president was just talking about a few moments ago were very -- the exact same words we heard on the campaign trail last year. but it still allows the white house to show action and motion and move beyond this. but the president also was trying to remind voters why they elected him and as you said, it's cutting some of that government bureaucracy. let's listen. >> we want clean air and we want clean water. but we shouldn't have to get the approvals from 16 different agencies for almost the same thing. so we have a country with tremendous potential.
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we have the greatest people on earth, but we have to use that potential and we have to let those people do their thing. so good luck everybody. enjoy yourselves. you're my friends. you're amazing people. we're going to put you to work. >> so there you hear the president talking to a group of labor union leaders and ceos as well earlier in the day. but again, wolf, a very friendly audience here. not talking about health care at all, which was the focus of the white house earlier this morning trying to revive that health care bill. in neither of the public speeches or addresses the president has made so far yet today have they uttered a single word of that. it's a recognition of how difficult that is. but wolf, more than anything, they're trying to change the subject here even as russia of course remains a huge focus of this administration. >> and also what's going on in syria. we heard from the president twice today so far. no mention from the president of
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syria, the gas attack that was reported today. hundreds of people killed and injured including a lot of children. the white house, though, is responding to this deadly chemical attack. >> the white house is responding through the press secretary sean spicer who held a briefing for just a short time ago. he call the act reprehensible and he said this could not be an act of any civilized society. but then he went on to blame the obama administration's red line in syria and said that this is sort of a function of what this administration is left to deal with her. but very strong words calling it reprehensible. throughout the administration the secretary of states, the ambassador to the u.n. have said in recent days that president assad really must go, but we have not heard from president trump at all on that. i think so struck by a line that
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the president then candidate trump said so often last year, i want to be the president of the united states, not the president of the world. wolf wolf, on a day where we are seeing those gruesome images from syria, he in fact cannot just be the president of the united states. it's a striking sort of departure here. he has responsibilities for the world. but he was meeting with his national security advisers this morning. the administration of course is pursuing their next steps here. but sean spicer told us again a short time ago this president would not telegraph his actions to the world what they plan to do here. again, we did not hear from president trump himself. >> the day still has a few hours left. jeff zeleny at the white house, thanks very much. our other big story, the house and senate intelligence committees investigating russia and attacking meddling in the presidential election. they're back at work. the senate is conducting closed door interviews beginning next
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hour while the house is trying to get its russia investigation also back on track. let's go to our senior congressional reporter manu raju. he's up on capitol hill at the house intelligence committee meeting. what are you hearing about the latest. >> we've learning the house and senate intelligence committees will actually get access to the information that adam schiff, the ranking democrat of the committee and the chairman devin nunes saw separately at the white house, the surveillance information that chairman nunes raised concerns about some incidental collection of information of potentially trump campaign, trump transition officials talking about foreign t -- adam schiff says moments ago that the full committee will actually see the information. weaver also told before a meeting of the house and intelligence committee with egyptian president there was actually a meeting of house democrats before this meeting.
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they actually discussed this surveillance information that schiff and nunes saw privately. they talked about some of the contents of that information which is classified information so we're going to learn more about it with the members are going to learn more about this. the efforts on the senate and house intelligence committees to really pick up the investigations that have been going on on the house side there has been an agreement we are told from -- about which witnesses to interview as part of this investigation. i had a chance to catch up with chairman devin nunes. i tried to ask him specifically about the investigation as well as his controversy. he didn't want to respond to some questions. take a listen. >> can you just stop for a second. >> no. i've got to get -- >> what do you think about the idea of him getting immunity. >> i've got a hearing starting. >> do you still stand by the notion that he is a whistle blower? that your source was a whistle blower? >> the last comment about nunes
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actually calling paul ryan last week, the house speak thaer hers source was ace whistle blower. we've learned that -- i asked paul ryan earlier about that contention, does he still believe nunes. he said he does. i talked to another member of the house intelligence committee who talked about how this commute seems to be moving forward because of an agreement over which witnesses to interview. this is what he said. >> going forward, this basic agreement on the witness list. >> so there's an agreement on flynn, carter page, manafort? >> again, you have to ask -- i don't want to be jumping the gun. ask the chairman and the ranking member. you'll see there is general agreement on the witness list. that's what i know. every individual who's been discussed will be called as a witness. >> i also had a chance to catch
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up with richard burr and i asked him about the interviews happening on the senate side. these are interviews with intelligence committee officials, private interviews. he said this. he said that we have -- he said we learned a lot so far. we've got a lot of people to interview. we'll process those in the normal course of the committee investigation and that's going to happen all before those big interviews come forward, those trump associates where they're expecting to talk to in the upcoming weeks. >> lots of major developments unfolding. thanks very much. congressman adam shift, the ranking member of the house intelligence committee. he's standing by to join us live. later this hour we'll discuss the details of their meetings that have just been going otn, the classified documents he viewed. my conversation with adam schiff coming up. nc as the russian meetings move forward, the trump administration says the focus should be on the leaking of
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names. susan rice is firing back that accusation she unmasked the identity of trump associates. here's what she said just a little while ago. >> the allegation is that somehow the obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes. that's absolutely false. there were occasions when i would receive a report in which a u.s. person was referred to. name not provided. just u.s. person. and sometimes in that context, in order to understand the importance of the report and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out or request the information as to who u.s. official was. >> did you leak the name of mike flynn? >> i leaked nothing to nobody. and never have and never would. >> let's discuss this and more with our panel. our cnn correspondent jessica schneider is with us, april ryan making her debut as a cnn
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political analyst. welcome april. and our chief political analyst gloria borger. not make her debut. what do you make of first of all the accusations that are now being leveled against susan rice, president obama's national security adviser and her response that we heard just now? >> the accusations are that she was leaking these names for political purposes. that she a accumulated them and leaked them because she was interested in doing political damage to donald trump. i think today she completely denied it. as she did to a spokesman last night. and she tried to make a point that there is no -- she explained that the reason you unmask information is you're trying to understand the context of what it is you are reading. what she did not say is whether anyone in the trump
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administration or transition was unmasked. when andrea mitchell asked her a question about flynn, and the question was did you seek the names of people involved in the trump transition, she said absolutely not. and she said i leaked nothing to nobody and never have. but i think if susan rice expected that this was going to end the controversy, i doubt that it will. >> i'm sure it's not going to end the controversy. april, you covered eight years of the obama presidency, including susan rice. what was your reaction to what you just heard? >> i think it was interesting to hear susan rice come from a point of i am the national security adviser. not only am i the national security adviser, but other people have done this in this role before. the information she said i received the information to find out what was going on, but the fact that the information came directly to her, no one else. also the fact that this situation is growing by the day.
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it's got legs. but the problem is that this could wind up going for a hearing. she said she didn't want to step into that scenario at this point. but what we have to see is that, again, like gloria said, this is not political. this is something that she did in efforts to protect this nation. it was something in her purview as national security adviser t. leaves the question to me, it gives me the question to ask now, does this administration actually understand what was in the scope of the national security adviser's purview as they are making these accusations to her as this is something that she did to protect the nation. that's a question that's coming out of this to me. >> let's not lose sight, jessica, of the bigger picture, the investigation into russian meddling in the u.s. presidential election. there's a report buzzfeed as a report about a meeting between a former trump campaign adviser, carter page and a russian spy. you're been doing some reporting
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on this. what are you learning? >> i've talked to carter page. he admits that yes, in fact, he met with a russian spy in 2013, but he says at the time he didn't know he was a russian spy. he thought he was simply working for the night nations. in new york. he tells me he gave him research materials involving energy policy. but the federal kpacomplaint te a different story. that russian spy was actually working to recruit carter page as an intelligence source. there's documented details and conversations in this complaint that talks about carter page going to russia on numerous occasions trying to learn the russian language what's interesting is that the trump campaign, the trump administration has repeatedly tried to distance itself from carter page. the hook on all of this is that same russian spy that was talking with carter page is indicted in this complaint along with another russian spy who worked for veb bank. of course that bank was the same one whose chairman met with
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jared kushner at the height of the transition in december. so all of these details coming out. not quite sure how they're connected. but they are coming out. >> you know the trump people are distancing themselves not only from carter page whom i was told if the president was in an elevator with him he wouldn't know who he was. carter page, but paul manafort you'll recall who was the campaign chairman for five months. suddenly they made him like a washington intern or something. so there is this -- they're going out of their way to say look, we -- these people were not major players for us. and that's one way to kind of distance all of these meetings. >> you remember april in that the president, then candidate, had with "the washington post" he cited carter page as one of his national security adviseers. >> that's the issue. they say one thing but when you look back at the record it's. it you can't change make a
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square an oval. paul ma nafort was at the convention. and people have to understand and this is the piece that i think is missing, this is about the election process that's happened in this country and it could affect what's happening in 2018, 2020. so that is the issue on the table. another country affecting the united states of america diplomacy and election process. >> april, welcome to cnn. good to have you with us. glor a gloria and jessica, thank you to you as well. adam schiff the ranking democrat member of the house intelligence committee, he's standing by to join us live. lots of developments to discuss. breaking news out of syria. we're covering a devastating suspect the chemical attack. nearly 100 reported dead.
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white house putting part of the blame on the obama administration. republican congressman, a varet van of the wars, he's standing by to discuss with me. who's stared down the best in her sport. but for both of them, the most challenging opponent was... pe blood clots in my lung. it was really scary. a dvt in my leg. i had to learn all i could to help protect myself. my doctor and i choose xarelto® xarelto®... to help keep me protected. xarelto® is a latest-generation blood thinner... ...that's proven to treat and reduce the risk of dvt and pe blood clots from happening again. in clinical studies, almost 98% of patients on xarelto® did not experience another dvt or pe. here's how xarelto works. xarelto® works differently. warfarin interferes with at least six blood-clotting factors. xarelto® is selective... ...targeting just one critical factor, interacting with less of your body's natural blood-clotting function. don't stop taking xarelto® without talking to your doctor
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. >> breaking news out of syria. we warn all of our viewers here in the united states and around the world, the story and the pictures we're about to tell you about are very graphic. one in the area says he has never seen anything like this. this doctor says he's talking about patients northern province and the media center reports 70 people including at least 10 children have been killed. many, many more have been injured. that same syrian doctor tells us whole families died of asphyxiation and 500 wounded covered the floors of the entire hospital from the patients room to the operating rooms. your international correspondent arwa damon is joining us. you've been there several times. unfortunately you've seen these kinds of a tr-- do you think th
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is the work of the syrian regime? >> well, that's what activists on the ground are saying and reporting. in fact, one local journalist who filmed some of the images that have been put out there told cnn that there were multiple strikes that morning and that he was hiding under a building in a bombshell ter. he also said that when he finally came out he had trouble breathing. he was speaking with the doctors there. he was coughing very heavily trying to get out. of course, filming all of the horrors that were unfolding around him. the syrian regime is categorically denying any sort of involvement. they're the only entity that has the capacity to carry out these kind of air strikes f. we look at historically what has taken place there, the other large chemical attack that happened back in 2013, that also
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ultimately was carried out by the government itself. >> you know, the secretary of the state rex tillerson has said that the long term status of the syrian president assad will be decided by the syrian people. i want you to listen to what senate john mccain said this morning in reacting. >> barack obama said that they would have a red line. they crossed it and he did nothing. and assad and his friends, his friends the russians take note of what americans say. i'm sure they took note of what our secretary of state said just the other day that the syrian people would be determining their own future themselves. one of the more incredible statements i've ever heard. >> so do you think assad could be emboldened by the trump a administration most recent statements this week on syria? >> i think that's a pretty safe assumption to make. as we heard there, the syrian
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president was emboldened by former president barack obama line was crossed and that was pretty mind boggling, given that the -- given the bombing of residential areas of hospitals, of schools that we haven't seen carried out by both the syrian regime and by the russians in areas like aleppo have been able to move forward with no accountability. now we have this kind of attack and adding to all of that the statements that the syrian president may not necessarily have to stand down. at the end of the day the trump administration does not necessarily hold human rights violations as being an essential factor who it comes to how they're dealing with different governments. this sends a very disheartening message. if the united states of all countries is going to allow these kinds of actions, these kinds of deaths, these kinds of
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acts of sheer vielgolence to go fa forward, what has happened to america's moral high ground? >> joining us from new york. she spent a lot of time in syria over these past several years. arwar arwa, thank you very much. i want to bring in adam ken singer. he flew missions for the air force in afghanistan and iran. thanks for joining us. >> thanks. >> whar you being told about who might be behind this suspected chemical attack that killed so many people including a lot of children. >> i think as your private guest noted it's obvious it will be the regime. they have a history of having done this. interestingly you can go on the internet and google that attack and you'll see these fake news stories generated by russian fsb, by the regime that it was
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the rebels that did it. completely. false. it was the regime. as noted, president obama's failure to enforce the red line emboldened them. now i fear that our administration basically accepting the future of assad. i agree the syrian people should determine it. that's why they're fighting against a regime that won't go away. this is meant as a warning sign to the syrian people that it's only going to get worse. that's their view. the more collective pain they can inflict on the syrian people, assad thinks that it his key to victory. >> in february, china and russia vetoes a united nations resolution to punish syria for chemical attacks, chemical weapons use against civilians. you say that played a role in this latest apparent gas attack that killed and injured so many people. why do you say that? >> well, look, it's obvious that the world is sending a message that they're not united behind
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this. here's the really scary thing, wolf. we've not accepted the use of chemical weapons on the battle field really since world war i. they were banned. we upheld no fly zones for a decade because of the use of chemical weapons. now every day it's like a new one whether did's chlorine or something else. i talked to a doctor in syria that was a victim of one of these attacks. this is kind of mainstay. tis is wrong. it is imperative on the administration not just of what's going on in syria and the human tragedy but the message of we will not accept the use of chemical weapons on the battle field needs to be maintained and i think there needs to be punishing strikes against the syrian regime in spresponse to this. >> i want to play the clip about the future unfortunate syrian leader. listen. >> long term status of president
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assad will be decided by the syrian people. >> we also just heard just a couple hours or so ago in the past hour from the white house press secretary sean spicer saying in his words, and let me be precise, he said there is not a fundamental option of regime change as there has been in the past. what can be done to take out realistically and you served in the military and iraq in afghanistan, to take out the assad regime and should that be a u.s. priority? >> i personally think it should be and there are options but every day it goes by it gets worse. in the short term we need to ground assad's air force. destroy his helicopters that are dropping barrel bombs. cratering the runways so the aircraft cannot take off. there needs to be punishing strikes against the regime to make it clear we will not accept this use of a weapon on the battle field. and then longer term we need
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humanitarian zones and we need the president to bring allies in the region that are willing to put more skin in the game and put troops on the groun. they can't do that until we are willing to say assad has to go. assad is creating the income generation of terrorists. they think the western world isn't listening. these are the kids that isis or the next generation of isis is going to find easy recruits. all they have to say is the world zdoesn't care about you ad you we do and they'll join. this is winning that next generational war on terror which i feel we're losing. >> some of the young people see the images we've been showing. this is recruitment material for isis and al qaeda and other terror groups. congressman, thanks for much for joining us. up next new details on the russian investigate. i'll speak with adam schiff. he's here with me in the studio. where do things stand right now? he just emerged from a closed
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. the house intelligence committee is now ramped up its investigation into russian meddling in the u.s. presidential election after canceling meetings last week, the committee is now back to work on looking into russia's attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election. and whether the trump campaign colludeed with russia. with us is adam schiff. congressman, thank for joining us. >> good to be with you. >> is there any new evidence
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that you've seen about collusion between clump associates and russians during the election? >> i can't go into the particulars of the investigation. i can say that on a daily basis we continue to get new information that's pertinent to our investigation. today got additional information that could be very relevant. in terms of the content or whether it bears on the issue of collusion or coordination i'm not at liberty to discuss. >> that's the major thrust of the house intelligence committee investigation, whether or not there was any collusion. is that right? >> that's certainly one of the core issues we're investigating. we're also looking at what was the u.s. government response to the hacking and dumping the information. what did the fbi do? what can we learn from this? how do we develop a better response to any subsequent attack, because of course the intelligence communities have concluded this was not one time.
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the assessment put out by the intention community both classified and unclassified was sound. it was based on the accurate intelligence that they got. we're looking at the raw materials to make sure they reached the right conclusions. >> yoouu're working with the fb criminal investigation. you're trying to make sure whatever you do doesn't interfere with that investigation. is that right? >> this is certainly a priority for the committee. i think for the senate intelligence committee as well. that is how do we conduct these two congressional investigations while the fbi is doing their own investigation where we're not stepping on their toes, they're not stepping on ours. that is a lot easier said than done. it goes against the grain for the fbi to share much in terms of what they're investigating. but at a certain point, when e o get information we believe the fbi needs to track down we want to share with them. >> you've come here. you just had a closed door briefing meeting with your
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committee, right? >> we did. we've actually had a couple hearings this week. we had a hearing yesterday on some of the urgent what we call hot spots around the world. we also had a round table this morning. neither of those were on russia related topics but the committee continues to do it its work. >> these hearings, these meetings behind closed doors, classified, chaired by the chairman devin nunes, right? >> yes. >> are you getting back, despite all the controversy that has erupted, is he still capable of doing the job? you called on him to recuse himself from the russian meddling investigation. >> i did. what my recommendation was is not that the chairman should step down from his chairmanship but rather we ought to continue on the ordinary course of our business as we did today. but when it came to the white house investigation and the investigation of russia and what not, that segment of the committee's work, very important segment, he ought to step aside from because of this difficulty
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in spragt heparating his role f surrogate and the committee role. that's not a decision the speaker concurred with. didn't concur with my recommendation at least for the time being. he will continue in that position as far as the speaker is concerned. so we will work together as best we can but i raise that issue because i thought it did put a cloud over the integrity of our investigation. >> is that cloud still there or is it being removed? >> well, you know, i think to the degree that the white house still won't explain its role in providing these materials to the chairman, to the degree that still remains in secrecy, why did the white house want to hide its hand, that cloud persists. nonetheless, we're not going anywhere. if we were to walk away from this investigation in the house, it would literally cut in half the resources devoted to the russian investigation. it's just too important this go forward. >> he's seen this information that the white house made
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available to them and you have received this information. the rest of the committee, the house intelligence committee, the senate intelligence committee, they're about to get access to that information. when they see that information and i know it's classified, will they conclude that susan rice, for example, president obama's former national security adviser, did something wrong in unmasking the names of americans -- american citizens who were incidentally caught up in surveillance activities by the u.s. government against foreigners? >> as you probably know, i kaept discu -- can't discuss the contents of what i saw. i made the request those materials be shared with the entire house intelligence committee and are senate counter part. we understand from one of the responsible agencies they're fine with. that we think that will go forward. i expect that will be fairly imminent. i think frankly that's the process that should have taken place from the beginning. if anyone in the white house had
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a concern about any of these materials, they should have been shared and not gone through this charade we saw over the last two weeks. in terms of collection, i can't comment on anyone who was involved in masking or unmasking materials, but i can say you would expect in the course of listening to foreigners, talking to foreigners, that they might be discussing who the next president of the united states might be or they might be discussing issues involving russia or issues involving china or issues of national significance in which prominent people might be mentioned. in ordinary business those names are masked even though when you read the report you know who they're talking about. there are times when it's important to say in order to evaluate the significance of this i would like to know who the person is, the agency ultimately makes that decision to unmask. i think what people are
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conflating is the decision to unmask so that national security official can view a document is not equivalent to leaking it to the public. and it's certainly not the equivalent of saying that this is wire tapping or surveillance of mr. trump or his team when he was candidate trump. so i think to that degree, that people are making that suggestion, again, it's an effort to say don't look at the russia investigation. don't look at the ties to the trump -- >> but chairman nunes wrote a letter asking for more information about the unmasking of names of american citizens because you were concerned, right? >> we did that as a part of our ordinary oversight responsibilities. that's something what we do quite often. if there's ever a concern raised about whether or not the procedures are being used right. that's what we look at. and the fact that we made that request and we still have that strange interlude with the white house after that, you have to say what prompted that?
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what was the urgency when we've already asked for materials about incidental collection? and i have to think the urgency was created at that monday hearing when james comey said n not only there was no truth to the president's claim that we was wire tapped or what have you but when the fbi director said that the trump campaign team was under an fbi investigation. i think this was the response to that rather breath taking hearing. >> let me be precise. have you seen any evidence at all that susan rice, the former president's national security adviser, did anything wrong, whether illegal or unethical, in seeking to unmask the names of american citizens? >> you know, i can't, again, speak to any specific persons or whether there are indications and classified materials. i can say this. we are just beginning to look at the issue of incidental collection. i haven't seen anything that indicates that there was some
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effort to surveil or wire tap candidate trump and his team. there's nothing to justify the tweets that he sent out. but we will be more than happy to review any concerns that are raised about incidental collection. but what the american people need to understand is that encompasses often just talking about a person. that's incidental collection. that's a far cry from what is being suggested here by the president that he was the target of wire tapping and eavesdropping. >> so do you think the white house now is simply trying to distract the american's public attention from the main thrust of your investigation, the russian meddling in the u.s. presidential election? >> i think there are a few things going on. there is in the first instance a strong desire by the white house that we lose our focus, that we not pursue the investigation of russia, particularly as it might
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impact the trump campaign. i think that's priority number one for the president and the administration. i think there have been pre-existing concerns among many libertarians about a different issue and that is the issue of whether incidental collection and the minimizatino procedures are adequate. i think they're using this pre-existing concern as a way to drive attention away from the russia investigation and then you have a third element which i think is appealing to the breitbart crowd and that is a continuing attack on susan rice. i lived with that attack for two years as a member of the benghazi committee where they spent two years trying to find something to krit sicriticize ht and ended up with nothing. all she did was go on a sunday talk show and describe it accurately as it was described to her.
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they had gotten it wrong through no-fault of susan rice. but nonetheless see shehe seems a target for the hard right. >> would it be appropriate to call her to testify before your committee. >> i can't comment on the content. if she had any evidence relevant to the russian investigation, if she or anyone else has any information or concerns, she's also welcome to come in. but again, you know, i don't want people to infer as i think that my friends on the hard right would like, the fact that i won't discuss classified information is not meant to imply anything. i find it more than ironic that some of the same people who are condemning leaks of classified information are condemning me for not leaking information about these classified documents. >> i know you've got to run. paul manafort, roger stone, carter page, michael flynn, are
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they clalready scheduled to appr before your committee? >> we don't have dates on our witnesses, but we certainly made a lot of progress. we've exchanged witness lists. i think we near agreement on bringing in both the witnesses that we want, the witnesses he wants. prior to doing that, we need to get the documents from these witnesses so that we'll understand what questions we want to ask. obviously some of these folks we may only get one crack at. we need to be prepared and we're not going to allow ourselves to be jammed because the witnesses want to come in before we're ready to question them. we do seem to be back on track in terms of identifying the witnesses and moving forward with the investigation. >> is michael flynn the only potential witness seeking immunity? >> well, he's certainly the only one whose lawyers talked publicly about it. highly irregular process. i think some of the commentary about that has been quite accurate. that's not generally how a defense counsel operates in
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advertising to the public. so we bring i think a haelgealt skepticism. there's also a lot we can find out about the circumstances involving involving mr. flynn's conversation with kislyak, about his dishonesty that's been reported without having to grant him or anyone else immunity. obviously we want to pursue those other leads before we make any kind of decision like that. >> i know you've got to run. thank you for joining us. >> you bet. good to be with you. >> at least ten children, dozens of others killed in the suspected chemical attack in syria. you'll hear from one of the doctors treating the victims and how the united states is responding. we're standing by live with new details. kind never had to. we've used real ingredients, whole nuts, and natural flavors from the very beginning. give kind a try.
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returning to our breaking news story, a suspected chemical attack in the syrian town of idlib. we want to warn our viewers, the pictures are graphic. 70 people died in the suspected chemical attack, including many children. one doctor who spoke to cnn said 500 wounded covered the floors of an entire hospital from the patients' rooms to the operating rooms to the hallways. our chief international correspondent christiane amanpour is joining us to discuss this. what a heartbreaking story. you had a chance to speak to a doctor who treated some of the victims of this deadly attack. tell our viewers what he said. >> well, it is really a terrible thing that's happened there and it's in idlib, as you say, and i did speak to a doctor who was one of the first responders. he told me he had never seen anything like it. he described patients frothing at the mouths, short of breath,
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choking and all the rest of it. he said the actual symptoms were for him very reminiscent of a nerve gas attack. and so this is what he told me about what he saw there. >> translator: i saw children dead and i saw an entire family consisting of a mother and three children all dead. and i didn't see any military nature among the dead. there was no one who appeared to be a fighter at all. >> and so also we've seen these pictures of responders trying to do the best they can with the very, very limited tools at hand. so they were trying to hose down, wash the victims including with smoke and explained to me, you just have to try to do everything that you can to get
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the gas off their bodies and then they try to send those that were able to be transferred to turkey for better treatment. they also found fragments of what he described as the barrel bombs that had dropped this poisonous substance. still don't know what it is but people are saying that because of the symptoms, it's a nerve gas of some kind and could possibly be sarin, which would be the first time a massive attack of that kind took place since 2013. wolf? >> it's an awful situation. christiane, you know sean spicer said the chemical attack today was, and i'm quoting him now, a consequence of the past administration's weakness. can the previous obama administration be blamed for what happened now in syria? >> well, look, i think the facts are very clear that president obama did put down this red line. he said that my red line is
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chemical attacks on civilians by the assad regime. when they did that back in 2013, he backed away from implementing punitive measures. many people believe that was an opportunity, that the assad regime was quaking in its boots. there were aircraft carriers and ships ready to take measures in that regard and then it didn't happen. they got emboldened. the fact of the matter is, wolf, this administration doesn't want to take on president assad. the u.n. ambassador nikki haley said that was not what the u.s. was going to do. it was just going to fight isis. this could continue, these kind of war crimes, crimes against humanity, which is what the turkey are calling today. wolf? >> certainly a war crime, no doubt about that. christ gener christiane amanpour, thank you. "amanpour" is coming up at the top of the hour. for our viewers in north
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america, "newsroom" with brooke baldwin will start right after this quick break. over hereno!ver here! (dog barking) whoever threw it has to go get it. not me! somebody will get it... ♪ (dog barking) anyone can dream. making it a reality is the hard part. from the b-2 to the upcoming b-21, northrop grumman stealth bombers give america an advantage in a turbulent world.
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here we go. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. we begin with the latest in what some are describing as this washington spy drama, secret meetings and russian plan to set up back-channel communications between the trump team and the kremlin. if you picked up "the washington post" today, there's a report about this secret meeting back in january just days before the president's inauguration between a russian connected to vladimir putin and eric prince who has ties to the trump campaign. also work mentioning here, that is the brother of betsy